Am I the ground and the seed? Is God the farmer?
Diana, in the photo from Wild Goose, where are the people of color?
Your question about the farmer being responsible for the seed prompted the thought that 3/4 of the seed appears to be wasted and God knows this about me, yet He continues to sow. Seed scattered on the path may nourish another and that which grows wildly then fades produces seed of its own, cast to the wind for another time and place. Our task is to till more good soil.
Thank you everyone for such encouraging and thoughtful, kindhearted responses. The Cottage community is such a special place. I'm honored and blessed to be in your presence and share a few words.
As a sometimes successful gardener, I really love Andrea Skevington's poem.
I read Octavia Butler’s book last year. The premise that “God IS Change” struck me as an absolute obvious no brainer when all creation points to the fact. Not changing is death they say, but honestly, even in death things change given time. Learning to embrace change is a journey of leaning into the arms of God in times of joyous relationships or times of tragic dystopia in her book... or in our real lives in my humble opinion. Thank you, for bringing her work to our attention! And thank you for your sharing, Cathleen!
In the discussions with Brian McLaren, Diana said that about 15% of the real estate in the US is owned by religious or religion related organizations. If possible, could Diana source that quote?
I am surprised there is no acknowledgement of the novel by Olivia E. Butler…no uptake on the current politico-spiritual relevance of the 1993 book in todays era of the intellectual denial and spiritual eyes that do not see and ears that do not (or won’t) hear.
WOW Cathleen! I have promised myself that I would not subscribe to anymore newsletters, blogs etc. I am reconsidering! Thankyou Diana for also introducing your friend and guest writer this morning. I have read The Sower apparently back when there was a rush to read her book. My church read it as a whole and did discuss on line during the shutdown so it is good to be reintroduced and able to contemplate along with the Gospel this morning. My take so far, Yes , "Seeds" are planted through out our life here, for us to change , become , grow, or not: It is our freewill choice. We also have to be a little unselfish and plan not only for our future, but next generations. In other words continue to plant our own seeds. On a fun note I have two containers on my patio. One is "bird" , wind and rain patio and was here when we looked at the apartment in "22" and was still here when we moved in in October. It has some nature planted plants in it and is thriving. Cannot identify all of them. The other I just planted some lavender and pumpkin on a stick. Both sets of seeds are post sell by dates. With plenty of sun, shade and watering we will see what happens. Safe trip home everyone !
Thank you Cathleen! I’ve always struggled with this passage because I know that in different chapters of MY life, I’ve felt like the ground on the path, trampled by the events around me, or the thorny brush, when I’ve felt out of place or out of my league, and lately I’ve been on rocky ground as I just moved and I’m still trying to navigate everything new with a heart of joy and hidden apprehension. And then THIS: “Whether allegorical or not, to my eyes and ears, Jesus’ stories contain wisdom and mysteries that continue to unfold over time and eternity, to and through our interactions with them.” And equally important IMHO along with the people who surround us in our new experiences with it. We must find a community within which we can receive the words of Jesus with our discerning spirit. And THEN, you add, “There is mystery, yes. And people have agency. We have the power and ability to CHOOSE what to do with what we have received, whether it’s information and talents, peak experiences, or traumas.” And in my world, disabilities. NO ONE is
Unworthy to exercise their agency in their faith journey, non matter what our circumstances. Thank you Sea Raven for your quote from Starhawk about Mother God: “She changes everything she touches and everything she touches changes!”
Keep paying attention to the context of the readings, before & after, to jolt/dump us out of the cradle of convention and into truth. Yes, God is Change. As pagan leader Starhawk sings, "She changes everything she touches and everything she touches changes."
"God is change"? Wow, that is different from my original attraction to God-- that God was unchanging. But the Word planted in our hearts is certainly dynamic and the love of God is life-changing every day. If we did not change we would die, like the seeds on barren soil. The Parable of the Sower tells us that we change or we die.
This understanding of the parable turns the typical interpretation on its head! How like Jesus subverting the common understandings of his time!
Many parables have been interpreted with G-d playing an odd part: the unjust ruler or the profligate farmer. This essay suggests the sower is a messenger; the onus is not on us to be good soil, but to be wise messengers. We are called to be discerning in our sharing of the Good News.
Elsewhere, Jesus tells his disciples to share the Gospel broadly, but not be deterred by those who “closed their ears” to it. I think this parable might be pointing in the same direction.
I’m called to share the Good News; when necessary, to use words (c.f., St Francis). If the soil is ready, all well and good; if not, I have limited influence on how the seed is received. This is a liberating interpretation!
Thanks for this thought-provoking reflection!
“Your mind is the garden,
your thoughts are the seeds,
the harvest can either be flowers or weeds" comes to mind. Did William Wordsworth write that? I also write a Substack called Pinching Pansies which is about Nature, the spirit of God I find in it and my long lost garden. Sadly, I have been neglecting those extraordinary tales and my Pinching Pansies needs to be weeded and fertilized. Please check it out if you have a little time! I truly love your writings in The Cottage. You inspire me.
I enjoyed this enlightening commentary on the sower parable. But--I, too, grew up in Pasadena in the l950's.(Unfortunately, I didn't know Octavia.) Although people of color lived mostly in one section of town, nothing was "officially" segregated. I attended public schools with kids of many races and nationalities. I am so grateful for that. I don't know anyone of my age and socio/economic background who had this experience. And I have spent my entire adult life working for racial justice in whatever way I could.
As a gardener, I didn’t understand why the sower wasted seed where it couldn’t flourish. Thanks for sharing a new way of looking at this familiar parable!